When you hear words to describe Whistler, it’s typically things like “epic riding,” “world class mountain biking,” and “four seasons resort.”
What you don’t typically hear are phrases like “tech hub,” “center of innovation,” or “world’s most connected resort.” But maybe you soon will.
Recently there have been a number of tech companies that call Whistler home. Not to mention GROW, Canada’s largest tech conference, will be moving to Whistler as of this summer. Debbie Landa, the CEO of Dealmaker Media and producer of GROW recently stated: “In the next five years, I would like to make Whistler the most connected resort in the world.”
As a Whistler resident I can attest to some subtle transformations. My cofounder, Skai Dalziel, and I launched a tour company called Whistler Tasting Tours back in 2008. More recently, we have ventured into the tech space and launched a mobile gifting application called Guusto (think “mucho gusto” in Spanish).
Guusto provides an instant and thoughtful way to send food and drinks to anyone with a smartphone. The recipient then has the option to choose where they would like to enjoy that thoughtful treat from hundreds of locations across Canada. We are taking the idea of buying a friend a drink or picking up the tab at lunch and making it doable from almost anywhere. It’s a great way to strengthen relationships with clients and friends when you can’t be there in person.
We have also teamed up with the ONE DROP Foundation (an initiative by Guy Laliberte, the Cirque du Soleil founder) so for every gift sent with Guusto we donate one day of clean drinking water to someone in need through their projects.
Other companies like Guestfolio, a hotel customer management system, and BlackTusk Media, who provide a mobile device learning management system for large telecommunications companies, are a few of the other tech ventures that call Whistler home.
It’s clear to anyone strolling through Whistler village that it’s not the hippie town that it once was. Don’t get me wrong; it still lures its fair share of free spirits. That said, I believe it’s the combination of world-class amenities with an ease of access that is virtually unprecedented that will continue to attract us workaholics.
The tech space is fast paced and free time can often be limited. But I believe Whistler will continue to attract Canada’s burgeoning tech community.
Why? The ability to enjoy the massive mountain terrain, gnarly bike trails, majestic hikes and so much more in a matter of minutes—all while being a stone’s throw from Vancouver—makes Whistler very attractive for those of us who choose to work hard but still want to play hard.